med school

Post-practical exam post

Thoughts after the practical exam that exceed Twitter’s character limit and are far from structured but serve as a form of catharsis:

I am utterly disappointed with myself. Although I’ve spent a lot of time and effort learning the human body’s intricacies; prioritized studying over leisure time and bonding with friends, I doubt my scores will reflect such. I say ‘will’ because although our third bimonthly grades have yet to be released, I have already set my expectations so low. Others could classify it as pessimism yet I am being realistic. 

Friends have commented that I emit a cheerful, humorous vibe but the internal conflict is inexplainable and unsettling. Perhaps I’m not the only one who have experienced an intense episode of self-doubt but our definition of a ‘low score’ could differ significantly. For me, it could be in the line of 5 or 6; for others, it could be in the line of 7. Who knows? This is the reason I avoid saying “basta ayaw lang sa last page” among classmates because, in the first bimonthly, I know the feeling of seeing my ID number on such dreaded page and feeling like the measure of failure. When I find a test or a topic relatively manageable, I avoid commenting I find it difficult just because many of my classmates say so. False humility is an undesirable trait.

Since high school, I have firmly believed that grades do not define a person. It is still true to some extent but it could be difficult to believe when those digits determine my next step. Sustaining optimism is made challenging by seeing a score that pales in comparison to the expected results of one’s perceived efforts. Med school has put a dent on my self-esteem one too many times.

Last year, when I was the epitome of laidback and carefree, I wished to have structured days again — with to-do lists to make and accomplish, then a sense of fulfillment that encourages me to tackle the next task. Well, I got more than I wished for.

The challenge comes not so much with being “smart” — because we all are in different ways — but with mustering enough resiliency, determination, and discipline to learn from mistakes and apply such to improve in the next exam. The “stress” during my undergrad years are miniscule when compared to the current degree of stress in many forms: physical, emotional, and mental. I still have high hopes I’ll repeat this line several years from now but “undergrad years” replaced with “first year med.”

***

Earlier, I was locked outside our house during a heavy downpour. While I was in the cab, I saw the window spattered incessantly with raindrops then I saw a white rope tied around our gate — that means my Lola went to church and, most likely, my brother isn’t at home. My umbrella is nowhere to be found. I began imagining how I would wait for an hour or so in darkness with my dogs, while finding a spot spared from the occasional raindrops leaking from the roof. I did wait for several minutes. Turns out, my brother is at home.

Although it pays to be cautious, maybe some things are worse in my head than these actually are.

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